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130-year old philosophy

February 19, 2011

small sketch of suspended trianglesI have a great little book, Amiel’s Journal, that a friend gave to me at a collage workshop. She picked it up at a used bookstore on her way to the workshop as potential collage material.  I liked it so much that she let me have it instead of cutting it up (thanks, Ginny!). This particular copy was published in 1929. Lovely.

I like how Amiel’s observations could easily be about making art:

Wherever one looks, one feels oneself overwhelmed by the infinity of infinites. The universe, seriously studied, rouses one’s terror. Everything seems so relative that it is scarcely possible to distinguish whether anything has a real value.

Henri-Frederic Amiel, December 6, 1870

photo of the 1929 copy of Amiel's journalI keep this little journal on my desk and like to flip through the pages to find something to think about for the day. Partly I like it because it connects me to this philosopher from 130 years ago. It’s kind of like taking a step out of today’s technological whiz-world into a slower, more serene time. Well, not always so serene for Amiel…

Here’s another tidbit:

Artist, poet, or thinker—if you want to fix and immortalise your ideas or your feelings, seize them at this precise and fleeting moment, for it is their highest point. Before it, you have but vague outlines or dim presentiments of them. After it, you will have only weakened reminiscence or powerless regret; that moment is the moment of your ideal.

Henri-Frederic Amiel, December 30, 1850

An argument for making good use of my sketchbook??

oil pastel sketch on paper of ideas about magic and chaos

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